What Would You Do If I Sang Out of Tune?



Motivation. Focus. Productivity.

All of the above have been sadly lacking in my life lately.

As some of you already know, June 2009 has been one of the most difficult months of my life. Nobody’s died (yet) , and I’m still married, but other than that, it’s been a perfect storm of setbacks and disasters,  on multiple fronts.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details. E-mail me if you’re a glutton for punishment. Suffice it to say, in the words of Ned Racine in BODY HEAT: “Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.”

As a fellow ‘Rati noted to me a few days ago, I’ve been under the radar lately. That’s because while this has gone on, I’ve barely had the energy to get out the things that absolutely have to get done. In the writing side of my life,  that’s been the newspaper column and the Murderati posts. Fortunately, I already had some fragments and notes that could be turned into finished work without too much trouble. Otherwise, I don’t know if I’d have been able to do it. As for the current WIP: fugeddaboudit. Sunday was the first time I’d opened the damn thing up in weeks, and it looked like the work of a stranger. Not a particularly talented one at that.

But this isn’t a “poor poor pitiful me” sob story. Because I can report that things, for the moment, are looking a little brighter. Family and friends have rallied to offer help, both practical and spiritual. I’ve gotten great advice, encouragment,  and career help from fellow writers and from readers. All of it’s been offered freely, without my even asking.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve made some changes and some new beginnings. And I have started back to work on LAWYERS, GUNS AND MONEY again. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I’m beginning to see some glimmers of daylight.

Which brings me, finally, to my point. Sometimes the shit does come down so heavy, you feel like you need a hat. But you’re not alone. Somebody else has probably been through it. You may feel like no one else has ever felt the way you do. You may feel, as I did, like just giving up and letting the water take you down. But let me say it  again: you’re not alone. And no storm lasts forever. If I can get through it, you can get through it. With a little help from your friends.

Thanks again.

18 thoughts on “What Would You Do If I Sang Out of Tune?

  1. Brett Battles

    Dusty, I am so sorry things haven’t gone great for you lately, but am glad it looks like it’s turning around. You are truly one of the good guys, someone I always enjoy seeing and talking to. Not that I would ever wish shit to fall on anyone, but I especially don’t like it falling on those I know and like.

    Hang in there my friend, and though I know it’s probably a little late to say this if I can do anything to help, let me know.

  2. Karen in Ohio

    I have no insight into your personal travails, Dusty, but wish you the best in getting to the other side of them. There generally is another side, remember that.

    But I wanted to cheer your writing on. I finished Safe and Sound last night, and wanted you to know what a good read it was. Creepy protagonist, and all. Your characters were well drawn, the plot tightly crafted, and although I hated the ending (for a girly reason), the story was well done. So if you need an extra little bit of inspiration, I look forward to reading your other work. Hang in there.

  3. Wilfred Bereswill

    Dusty, hang in there, buddy. I feel like I’m in a similar mode. 2008 was bittersweet for me. Publish my first book, get fired from my day job just before Christmas. My friends keep reminding me that it was a reduction in force because of the Inbev takeover, but to me it felt like a firing to me. Still does and it still stings.

    It’s been six months since being called in that office to have my separation benefits spelled out and I’m still not recovered. My WIP has had very little progress. On the up side, I’m in a new day job with more upside potential than the previous one, but it’s been a struggle to adjust.

    While I don’t know what you’re going through, I just hope you hang in there and I wish you the best.

  4. BCB

    How ironic. Just put this quote on Twitter, because it feels like today is shaping up to be "one of those days" when I need inspiration wherever I can find it, so I’m sharing it here too:

    "A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t." -Jack Dempsey

    JD, you’re a champion and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  5. Dana King

    JD, it’s not important for me to know the extent of your recent troubles. They’re none of my business. What is important is for you to know that I, and a lot of others, look forward to your contributions here, on What Fresh Hell Is This and in your books for their insight and good humor. Best wishes for a quick turnaround.

  6. Jake Nantz

    Every morning in Africa, an Antelope wakes up knowing it must outrun the fastest lion or die. Every morning in Africa, a Lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest antelope or starve to death.

    Dusty, I know nothing of your personal troubles, and I don’t know if you’re the lion or the antelope, but as someone who looks forward to your contributions here and who owes you a great deal of gratitude for help with my own work, I’m very glad to hear that you’re still running.

  7. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Yo, Dust –
    I’m sorry to hear about your travails. You are indeed not alone. My life has never been more exciting and frightening before — upcoming publishing of first novel combined with the certain foreclosure of my house, the rush to find an apartment for me and my family, no savings…my wife just keeps telling me that everything will be all right.
    And so I listen to Bob Marley, every day….."…everything’s gonna be all right, everything’s gonna be all right….no woman no cry….everything’s gonna be all right…."

  8. Louise Ure

    Dusty, I didn’t know you were in the middle of a shitstorm. Take care. Take cover. Take heart.

    We’re all of us … ‘Rati around the world … sitting here with fingers crossed and our best wishes for you in our hearts.

  9. Stephen D. Rogers

    Hey JD,

    Not to rain on your rain, but I’ve already written a story called LAWYERS, GUNS, AND MONEY.

    Sorry about that. Maybe you’ll come up with another idea someday. 🙂


  10. J.D. Rhoades

    Not to rain on your rain, but I’ve already written a story called LAWYERS, GUNS, AND MONEY.

    Heh. Well, it was just a working title.

    BCB: thanks for that quote. I’m printing it out and putting it up over my computer.

    Jake, in my case the antelopes are all out of town till mid-July, and they were scrawny beasts to begin with.

    Stephen Jay: Good luck, man. Have faith. Here’s wishing the book skyrockets up the lists and you end up with more houses than John McCain.

    Karen, glad you liked S & S, hope you like the rest as much!

    Brett, Will, Dana, Louise, Kaye, Pari, Toni: thanks. It’s for people like you that I keep it turned on.

  11. Tom

    Dusty, you’ve got friends and admirers aplenty. You may have noticed. And you can have Llugie, your llama, back any time you want him. He’s a very serene fellow to have around.

    Speaking of torrents of efluvium – they’re much in the news today. http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE55N3YD20090624?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews

    Oh, and a new title for the WIP: MONEY, GUNS, AND LAWYERS.

    Looking forward to seeing it on the shelf.

  12. JT Ellison

    Have you noticed that when you pursue your dreams, sometimes they like to laugh at you? I was watching Devil Wears Prada last night – to paraphrase: if your relationship is getting unstable, you’re doing a good job. When your entire world falls apart, it’s time for a promotion. Keep working, sweetie. It will all shake out in the end.

  13. Fran

    I have one of those umbrella hats somewhere, if you’d like one. No, really. I do have one. I’m not sure where it is, but hey, if it’s an emergency, I can find it!

    In all seriousness, Dusty, know that you are much admired and respected, and I hope that — no, I believe that — things will turn around for you, and soon. Let me add my voice to those who say (and really mean it!), if there’s anything I can do. . .

  14. Rob Gregory Browne

    Once again coming in late — what do I do with my day? But Dusty, I’m glad to hear things are looking up. I’ve been through bad times and know the feeling, but sooner or later you come out the other side.

  15. Donna Kuyper

    Dusty, you have always been so kind and welcoming to me at Thrillerfest when I was just a wannabe. You are one of the good guys and a joy to be around. I rarely post and am just now finding time to read blogs now (my first ms is out on submission), but I just had to post here to say chin up. Remember, everything is grist for the writing mill.


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